AT the bottom of a garden at a house in North Lanarkshire there blooms every spring a ring of bright tulips.

This is fitting tribute to a flamboyant three-legged Doberman who had a penchant for pink beads and red nail varnish.

Last week marked 150 years since the death of Greyfriars Bobby, the Edinburgh dog who kept a vigil by his master’s grave in the city’s Greyfriars Kirkyard and who is immortalised by the nearby statue.

A special service was held at the kirk, where children laid a posy and a piper played in memory of the faithful Skye terrier renowned the world over.

Jack Johnstone, of the Dogs Trust charity, summed it up when he said: “People love dogs. Bobby is Edinburgh’s dog; Bobby is Scotland’s dog. His story is worldwide.

“That loyalty that is symbolised in the Greyfriars Bobby story is still there between dogs and humans.

“And I like the second L word – that loyalty that the dogs give us I think is returned by love.”

The story of Bobby and the love and loyalty of dogs reminded me of my beloved Solo.

Truth be told, he was never meant for this world. We called him Solo because he was the only pup to survive from a litter of seven. His mum, who belonged to my grandfather, had a deficiency in her milk and her pups slowly died one by one. Solo clung on and the vet said if he was still alive in the morning, he would send him to the Glasgow vet school. This was a last resort, but one that paid off and he was the first dog to survive a new treatment they were developing there.

He was the poorest looking wee thing, a rickle of bones with rickets and weepy eyes. However, he soon gained strength on a diet of custard and bonemeal.

But Solo was to face another challenge for survival after he was hit by a car when he was a year old.

A back leg was badly damaged, but the vet said he would survive his injuries. The leg was pinned twice but it was clear it was not going to heal and had to be amputated. I was nine and heartbroken, but still so thankful he had survived this latest brush with mortality.

And Solo was soon hopping around happily. The Doberman breed tends to have a reputation for being tough and fearless. Solo was soft and precious, with something of a disdain for canine pursuits.

Soft furnishings were more his thing. His stump was at an ideal height for perching on the sofa. From this starting point he would gradually hoist himself up until he was reclining with his back on the cushions, front paws stretched elegantly in front of him, perfect for the painting of his nails.

He loved attention and being pampered. I crocheted him a collar in red poodle wool – much gentler on the skin than those rough collars ORDINARY dogs wore. He also sported a set of fetching pink beads that came out of a cracker one Christmas.

When I left home, he slept on a bean bag outside the door of my empty bedroom, faithful to the end. Solo passed away quietly at the ripe old age of 12. He was tougher than we thought.